We’ve been listening to Tom Gresham’s GunTalk Radio for years – mainly via the podcast version. We’ve also gotten to know Tom a bit from his support of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) – a great group of folks who support the media who support outdoor sports and recreation.
Tom sure asks people a lot of questions. So we thought it time to turn the tables on Mr. Tom Gresham and
con invite him to our interview hot seat. Tom was gracious enough to spend some time with us, and here’s what he had to say.
My Gun Culture: Tom, I’m a regular listener of the GunTalk Radio show. As I can’t seem to sit still for more than about 90 seconds, I listen to the Podcast version on my iPhone while tinkering about. (Editors: The Podcast is great – even the commercials are cool!) Here we have the luxury of being able to edit. But you, on the other hand, have to deal with a lot of unexpected stuff on live radio. You just never know what someone is going to say. Any particularly crazy experiences stand out?
Tom Gresham: Well, yeah we get the occasional call that leaves you scratching your head… One that comes to mind is the fella who called in and was raving about how much he loved his .308. He said he took a deer with it at 800 yards! I thought, well, there are some people who could shoot things at 800 yards. I said “Really, well how high did you have to hold over the target?” He said he didn’t hold over at all – those things shoot flat! Well now we’re defying gravity and all ballistic science that exists. But the guy just told me he did this and I couldn’t really call him a liar on the air, so I said, “Well that is some shot” and I let it go. Then the next caller comes on and is laughing his head off! And then we had a woman that called in and was saying she had a self-defense gun. I could hear kids in the background so I asked her how she stores her gun safely with little kids around yet keeps it accessible? She said “Well, that’s easy, I just hang it on the chandelier!”
MGC: Nice! That sounds more like a booby trap! I already figured out who the first guy was. That had to be John Kerry when he was out “gettin’ him a deer with his trusty side-by-side shotgun.”
Tom: The trick to making those long shots is you just have to pull the trigger real hard!
MGC: The week we did this interview, you were on your way out the door to get all shot up by Special Forces guys during a Simunitions training event. We wanted to include some “after” photos for this article, but were afraid showing your battered, shot up body might scare off readers. How did it go? What did you learn? How long will you have visible bruises? Did you cry?
Tom: The truth is we’re working on a new project. I can’t say too much now, but I will say it involves force-on-force training. We’ve learned from Simunitions that there is this thing called a “pain penalty.” Those things hurt! You can shoot Simunitions from revolvers, semi-autos, AR15’s and pump shotguns. You have to modify the guns and use special Simunitions ammunition, but they will function a gun just fine. We’ve been working with VATA Group on training and they are just terrific trainers. We’re doing some stuff with them on DVD and using our super slow motion cameras for training sequences.
MGC: If you guys are looking for a patsy to take some Simunitions rounds while you do this stuff, I volunteer! I might cry though, but that might make for good television.
Tom: Well, it’s kind of an intelligence test. If you volunteer for it, you fail! On the question of did I cry, well yes, but that’s not any different from any other time I go out and shoot. So it really doesn’t mean anything.
MGC: I have to ask you about the recent Wounded Warriors Project fiasco. I listened to your interview with Wounded Warrior Project Executive Director Steve Nardizzi “Esquire” and heard quite a bit of double-talk on GunTalk! Two comments: First, you must have really moved up in the world in order to get a genuine “Esquire” on the show! Second, I figured that after 16 years you would know better than to invite a lawyer as a guest! What were you thinking???
Tom: What a mess that turned out to be! All I wanted to do was invite The Wounded Warrior Project on the show, on Veterans Day, to promote them and talk about the good things they do. And then it just takes a hard left turn, and I do mean left, where they say they won’t come on the show because we talk about guns. They finally agreed to put their CEO on the show and I felt like I was talking to a politician the whole time. The outcome of this is that there are a lot of people now looking for other places to put their donations. Fortunately I don’t hear anyone saying they’re not going to donate to other vets – they’re just going to do it through other means. A lot of folks are saying that’s fine, I’ll just give my money to someone else.
MGC: Strangely enough, in March of this year, we approached Wounded Warrior Project to be the beneficiary of our Soup it up for Soldiers project. In short, we documented the customization of a Ruger 10/22 rifle for auction with all proceeds going to Wounded Warriors Project. We didn’t even want to use a logo, and here’s the response we received: “Thank you for your support of WWP and our nation’s wounded warriors. We are going to have to decline the opportunity to be the beneficiary of your event. WWP fundraisers cannot be based upon the exchange or sale of firearms.” Fortunately, we were introduced to the great folks at Project Valour-IT, affiliated with Soldiers Angels. They were great to work with and ultimately received a whole slew of donations related to the project. What can readers do to help break this rotten cycle of demonization of firearms owners?
Tom: On a side note, this week I heard from Gene Lumsden, President and CEO of Legacy Sports International. Legacy has been making 1911’s with the Wounded Warriors logo for several years. They came to him at a previous SHOT Show and loved the idea. He’s contributed somewhere around $50,000 to them and just this week, they came to him and asked him to stop using the logo. So they are doubling down on this and making sure no one is using the logo. It’s just sad and disappointing. It’s like finding out something bad about Mother Theresa. I don’t event want to know this. We all have to be more careful about selecting the groups we support. Ask the hard questions. We’ve all heard politicians say they support the Second Amendment. Then it’s always followed by a “but…” There can’t be a “but” – you either do or you don’t. My opinion is that if someone wants to marginalize us and say “we’ll work with anybody, except those guys over there” then I think it’s our job to let them, and everybody, know that we won’t work with them. Their revenue next year is projected to be around $180 million. They decided they can do without us, so let’s find out how much that’s going to affect them.
MGC: They can certainly do without me. There are a lot of great causes out there supporting our warriors. Like Project Valour-IT and Soldiers Angels.
Tom: There are A LOT of great causes and we’re finding out about them. We’re putting a list of them on our website and I’m doing a series of interviews with various support groups for wounded vets each week on GunTalk Radio.
MGC: We ask all of our guests the same very important question. What’s your opinion on using an MK19 Automatic Grenade Launcher for home defense? My wife and I are still arguing about this. She’s concerned about collateral damage to the china, but I think the stopping power and intimidation override any collateral damage concerns. What say you?
Tom: First we have to address the collateral damage to China. I don’t think they’ll shoot that far, but if they did I don’t really care about that kid of collateral damage! I actually have shot the MK19. As Tim the Tool Man Taylor used to say, more power. More power is the thing. And this is the ultimate quote. “There is no such thing as overkill.”
MGC: Well when we interviewed Iain Harrison, he thought this wasn’t enough and said he prefers the 105mm Light Gun for home defense.
Tom: Well when we interviewed Iain for our Zombie show, we asked him what he was doing to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse, he had a stack of shoulder fired LAW rockets. So you kind of have to factor in the whole Iain thing. With Iain, his idea of having enough firepower is having a hand-held radio where is can call in an F-18 strike unit.
MGC: Air strike huh? Well, there would be collateral damage to the house, but it’s without doubt got one-shot stopping power. Hmmm. I appreciate the work you do, especially with GunTalk’s Truth Squad initiative. I know you already have a badge-type logo for the Truth Squad, but I am thinking maybe you could update it to something like the old “Mod Squad” one from that show in the 70s. Oh, and maybe add an official secret handshake. Anything new in the works with the Truth Squad? What should our readers know?
Tom: You don’t know about the photos of me with my afro. Seriously! In in the old, old days I was a rock drummer with bell bottoms and the craziest afro you ever saw. So there may be a little Mod Squad in the Truth Squad after all. One thing I want to mention about the Truth Squad is that one thing we’re really good at in the gun rights area is we will complain – readily. People are figuring out the meaning of our motto “no lie left unchallenged” – because a lie left unchallenged becomes the truth. So we have this no shrug policy. We don’t shrug and say “that’s just the way it is.” People will complain, but what we forget to do is say “thank you” when somebody does it right. Because that is equally important. Take for example, someone like Starbucks, who has been lobbied by gun haters saying they should ban guns on their property. But they just go along with whatever the law is where we are and that’s fine. If you’re legal to wear a gun outside of Starbucks, you’re legal to wear a gun inside. We’re OK with that. We have to remember to stop and support them, say thanks, and tell them why we’re shopping there. Because without that, the only feedback they’re getting is from the negatives.
MGC: I love their response. It’s such a win-win for them. They’re just saying “we don’t make policy, we just follow the law.” Certainly that benefits us as well. You’ve been referred to as ‘The Great Enabler’ for talking billions and billions of American’s into buying guns. I need some help convincing my beautiful bride that a new Ruger 556 is vital to the continued success of our family. Any advice?
Tom: I think that’s fine, but you probably ought to get one for yourself also!
MGC: Oh great! You’ve taken HER side already! Apparently there’s this new thing called cable and satellite TV and it seems you’re neck deep in it. I certainly enjoy watching Guns and Gear Television and GunTalk TV. Can you tell our readers where to find you on the tube?
Tom: You can catch our shows on NBC Sports or the Pursuit Channel. If people can’t get them there, we put all our shows on Youtube on our GunTalk TV Channel. We’ve been tracking these shows with the Nielsen ratings and Guns and Gear is the number one by far and GunTalk TV is number two on general gun shows. Not counting the shows on History Channel.
MGC: SHOT Show is almost upon us! You must be busier than a gun store after election day. What are your plans for SHOT Show 2013?
Tom: I’m gonna take a shopping cart and run fast. You know, the thing about SHOT Show is that it’s so big, that in four days, if you were to see every booth, you would have 45 seconds to spend at each booth. It’s that big. You can’t see it all. So the issue is where do I go and what do I see? You hit the big booths, but you want to hit the small ones because there’s some real innovation taking place. Three of four years ago, we found this little holster that’s become a favorite of mine for carrying these little itty-bitty guns like the Kel-Tec and Ruger LCP. It’s called the Recluse Holster. It just slips in the front pocket or back pocket and makes a gun disappear. It looks goofy at first, but it just works. So my plan is to see everybody, but don’t overlook the little booths because that’s where some of the coolest stuff comes from.
We’d like to thank Tom Gresham for spending some time with us. Remember folks, be sure to catch GunTalk radio either on a station near you or via Podcast. Tom and team have also created an iPhone / iPad app for GunTalk which will let you download and listen to regular episodes and special bonus Podcasts. And don’t miss Guns and Gear television and GunTalk TV on NBC Sports and the Pursuit Channel.
Image courtesy Tom Gresham